Examination of Witnesses (Questions 60
TUESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2001
Sir David Madel
60. You are saying that if Montenegro went independent
it would be just as peaceful in its relationship with Serbia as
Scotland would be in its relationship with England?
(Mr Judah) Unless there were people who decided that
it was in their political interests to stir things up, if there
were people who wanted to stir up those who were against independence
in the north, but I do not think that realistically that that
is going to happen. Historically the Serbs and the Montenegrins,
as you know, were never extremely close. There is no legacy there,
there is no history of hostility between them, so in that context,
yes, I think so.
Mr Rowlands: The point that Mr Judah started
to touch upon, a rather serious point, I thought, was that if
in fact the European Union or the international community are
going to be in a position to endorse the result of a referendum
do they have some right to have an input into the way the referendum
is going to be run and organised? There is a Referendum Bill,
is there, or a Bill going to come through in Montenegro to establish
the referendum? Would it be proper for the European Union and
the international community to say that that Bill should either
have a qualified majority of the kind you were describing, Mr
Judah, and secondly that there should at least be some fair opportunity
within the media for those who are not in favour of a referendum
to be heard properly? The impression one gets is of a pretty one-sided
state media in Montenegro.
61. Who would be entitled to vote?
(Mr Judah) I am not sure it is up to us to tell them
how to run their referendum.
(Mr Glenny) We were saying that it was up to us to
62. You do not think it would be up to us?
(Mr Glenny) It is just that we have intervened on
the way referenda in the former Yugoslavia were run before in
terms of what we consider right and proper, including access to
the media and so on. I do not see why this one should be any different.
63. Is that right?
(Mr Judah) Yes.
(Mr Steele) That is absolutely right. I think Mr Anderson
made the point about who would be entitled to vote. I think one
of the most crucial things is whether Montenegrins who have lived
most of their lives in Belgrade, for example, should be allowed
to vote in the referendum. I think that is going to be a key issue.
Beyond the OSCE having a mission there and passing comment on
what they think of the eventual legislation I do not think we
can intervene to change it as such.
Sir Peter Emery
64. Can I put three questions to you? First
of all on prisoners, do you think enough is being done to get
the release of Kosovo prisoners held in Serbia back home and what
knowledge have you of Serbians being held illegally in Kosovo?
Then on the administration, how well do you rate what the United
Nations, what the EU and what KFOR are doing in Kosovo? Do you
think this is adequate, do you think there are great difficulties
that have not been overcome, or do you think in time this is beginning
to come together? That really leads to the last question. Do you
believe that in the future there is a possibility, any or none,
of there really being a multi-racial Serbian/Albanian acceptance
in Kosovo in order that there can be a feasible community operating?
(Dr von Hippel) I think there was an Amnesty Bill
going through the Belgrade Parliament yesterday, so it is possible
that they will be released very soon. I think we should continue
to put the pressure on them to release the Albanian prisoners
as soon as possible and hand them over at least to the UNMIK authorities
to decide whether or not the Albanians that are in Belgrade
were actual criminals or political prisoners. That will be an
enormous gesture which the Albanians desperately need right now
65. Either way there were major procedural deficiencies
in the trials.
(Dr von Hippel) Yes, and many Albanians have bought
or purchased release of their relatives back. That has happened
the whole way across. That is quite important. In terms of the
UN administration, certainly we have had problems. I worked there
almost a year so I will say "we" in terms of the UN,
but there were problems throughout the process. We were setting
up an administration in an area where there was no clarity about
the final status. I do not think people anticipated the level
of revenge activities that would go on towards the Serbs to the
degree that it happened. We were unprepared, at least in the beginning,
for that kind of activity and slowly we developed mechanisms to
deal with it. We were also fighting against the UN bureaucracy,
we were fighting against a whole host of different problems. I
think that yes, it is going in the right direction. I think that
there is a new administration now for UNMIK. The Haekkerup administration
has just started and we need to give it some time to see in which
direction it is going. There is always a danger that each new
SRSG may try to put their imprint on so strongly that it changes
the process that has been established, and that process is not
incredibly strong and so it does need support to continue in the
same direction in which it is going. In terms of what the British
Government do, they can put pressure on the Haekkerup administration
to develop this pact or to come up with their own internal charter
to define what self-government in Kosovo means. I think they are
doing that. It is quite secretive and I do not think it should
be secretive. I think you can demand more transparency or even
involvement in this process that is happening. In terms of future
multi-ethnicity these three know more than I do about the history
of the region. I do not think there has ever been multi-ethnicity
in Kosovo. They do not like each other in general. Certainly there
are Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs who get along quite well
and have always got along very well, but there is a great level
of distrust between the communities and the Serbs. Although there
were many negative activities against the Albanians during the
bombing campaign, the Serbs now feel like they are suffering and
many people have been killed etc, so it is not a very safe place.
On the other hand, if we allow each community to have their own
space to build their own forms of administration, that may be
the way to allow trust to be built. I am talking about these Community
offices that I was writing about. If we can strengthen these offices,
if we can pressure any new pacts that are written in Kosovo for
self-government to have very strong guarantees for minorities,
we will certainly go a long way to help that happen. Of course,
we are going to need the security presence for some time to make
sure that acts of revenge at least can be stopped and if they
are not stopped they can go through a proper judicial process.
Sir Peter Emery
66. Are there any comments from the other members
to add to or subtract from that?
(Mr Steele) On the question of Serbs held illegally
in Kosovo, I think the best people to ask that question to is
the ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross, who are
constantly investigating this issue of missing persons. As far
as I understand from the last time I spoke to them, which was
some months ago, they do not believe that there are Serbs held
illegally in Kosovo in secret detention camps. I think this is
something that people like to believe if their relatives are missing.
They like to feel that they must be still alive somewhere. I am
afraid the reality probably is that the missing people are now
67. You have no evidence of this?
(Mr Steele) It is the ICRC who would know the details
(Mr Judah) This is the same as the tragic Vietnam
MIA syndrome. There are still people in the United States who
believe that their loved ones are still alive in some detention
camp in Vietnam. I think it is the same awful tragic syndrome.
If they were still alive presumably somebody would be ringing
up demanding money or demanding something, but since that is not
happening there is no reason to believe it is true.
(Mr Glenny) There is also the point that the Albanians
in Serbia are prisoners of a state, whereas that is not the case
of the alleged Serbs being held in Kosovo. It is a priority for
the Serbian state and for the Yugoslav state to release these
people as fast as possible if they want to show real commitment
to the principles of dialogue and democracy. On the other two
issues, it is terribly important that UNMIK work towards the establishment
of a local administration in Kosovo and that we do not sink into
the Bosnia syndrome which is really debilitating and damaging
68. That is your dependency culture?
(Mr Glenny) The dependency culture, exactly. Unfortunately,
Kouchner was a fairly dramatic character but he was not really
the sort of person who needs to concentrate on a solid policy
of building. He tended to be distracted here and there by all
sorts of things. The jury is obviously still out on Haekkerup,
but I fear that on the whole when it comes to the diplomatic and
civil servant positions of the international community in Kosovo
and Bosnia, particularly in Kosovo, we are getting to relatively
low level characters. I really feel that Kosovo needs someone
with much more drive but also more direction than we have seen
up until now. As regards the multi-ethnicity, we have to be honest
about this. Serbs and Albanians really dislike each other more
than anyone else you can come across in the Balkans and Bosnia
has a much better possibility of rebuilding relations between
the communities than Kosovo does. If you accept that, and I would
certainly put it forward, then you have to work out what the hell
does that mean for the future of Kosovo? What does that mean for
Mitrovica? What does that mean for the future of Serbs in Kosovo,
for the status of Kosovo and so on?
69. And your solution?
(Mr Glenny) You either raise a radical solution, which
is population exchange, which has been done lots of times before
(Mr Glenny) Or partition, and recognise that whichever
choice you go for there will be very serious resistance from different
constituencies. This is not a problem which has any easy answers
to it at all.
71. I just wondered if the other witnesses agreed
with Mr Glenny's assessment. We are still clinging to some sort
of forlorn belief that there is going to be some significant return
of Serbs into Kosovo and that is an unrealistic belief in any
meaningful timescale that you can think of in policy making terms?
Is that right?
(Mr Steele) I would agree with that. I think Misha
Glenny is quite right. The Serbs and Albanians do not get on well.
The history of the last ten years and particularly of the last
two years makes it pretty clear that it is going to be hard for
them to live together. The issue is not to get people to love
each other. It is a question of human rights. We have to make
sure that the human rights of every individual now living in Kosovo
are guaranteed, that community rights are also protected in terms
of language and other facilities that respect people's cultural
traditions and autonomy, but it has to be done within the framework
of an independent Kosovo, I would say. What I think the international
community, particularly the western governments, have not yet
willingly tackled is the future status of Kosovo, and I think
it has to be independent ultimately. Whether that means that the
remaining Serbs in Kosovo would, when the thing is clarified,
knowing that they now have to live essentially in a country where
the majority is of a different culture, then pack up and go, whether
the Albanians will feel, "This is now entirely Albanians"
and all the Serbs have to go, whether it would increase the violence
against the Serbs or reduce it, is a very big question. If you
have a proper security framework, and I think it is really up
to KFOR which still has an enormous number of troops in there,
plus the international policy, they must guarantee the individual
security of everybody there. I do not think the Serbs are going
to go back.
72. That is a very interesting point to me.
You say we need the security system. I have only been twice, once
12 months ago and again this last week. I was astonished how bad
it was in certain areas. They were still being bussed. We have
put personnel carriers to schools so that the kids would still
be bussed to school. Going shopping would require peopleeverybody
still would not come out of their apartments etc. There was nothing.
Okay, 12 months is a short time in the history of the Balkans
but nevertheless there was no evidence that there had been any
progress in respect of some easing of the tension within the Serb
community. If we accept the Kosovo independence scenario or Kosovo
progress and Albania/Kosovo being the basis, do you see a permanent
military mission defending the minority within Kosovo or do you
think that if Kosovo Albanians knew that they were going to govern
the country they could have a different view about the Serbs who
were still there?
(Mr Steele) I think it is going to be very long term.
Whether it is permanent is another matter. I think it could be
at least ten or 20 years. I would tend to say that if Kosovo became
independent the leadership of the Serb communities (I think the
majority of them) would have to accept that and I think their
advice to their people would be, "We now have to adjust to
this new reality. It is a bitter reality but it is not our fault
and it is not the Albanians' fault necessarily." It is the
fault of the man who we talked about earlier, Milosevic, and that
would be difficult for them but I think at least it will provide
clarity and those who do not want to remain in an independent
Kosovo will have to be helped to settle wherever they go, probably
back to Serbia.
73. Can you justify the military effort of protecting
elderly and isolated Serbs in their apartments?
(Mr Steele) I think so, yes. I think we do have a
real moral responsibility to protect the Serbs of Kosovo. We have
protected the Albanians of Kosovo. I think if we now abandoned
the Serbs it would be an outrage. That means a very long term
(Dr von Hippel) I wanted to come back on the returns
issue. First of all, I think many Serbs want to return to their
homes and it is partially because their life in Serbia is worse
than it would be in Kosovo. We are not just talking about the
Serbs. There are other minorities that live in Kosovo: the Roma,
Hashkalia, Bosniacs, Slavic Muslims, the Gorani, Egyptians and
Turks. They are communities and if you talk about an internationally
sanctioned ethnic cleansing policy it gets quite dangerous for
the future of all the other minorities in Kosovo. There are also
Albanian Catholics. It is not necessarily the case that you want
to create a predominantly Albanian Moslem society there. The people
who do want to return to their homes have a right to return to
their homes. What the UN and KFOR are trying to do now in Kosovo
anyway is to help them return, to help protect these areas when
they will return and to help rebuild their homes. I disagree that
it is exactly the same way it was a year ago. By the time I left
I felt that although it was not safe for a Serb to drive on their
own or walk down the street necessarily on their own, although
some were doing it because they are tired of being confined to
their homes, but they think that among the Albanian community
and the Serb community the tension had been reduced significantly
because of the security and because of the police and because
people were out there. In terms of whether these Albanian prisoners
are released, that is already a confidence building measure and
we can do other things to try to help the communities come together
more. If I could make one other comment, going back to what you
were saying about Serbs being held illegally in Kosovo, Kouchner
said publicly several times that he also thinks that they are
probably dead as well and he has been trying to encourage the
Serb community to accept that in order that they do not make it
as a tit-for-tat situation with the Albanians that are held inside
(Mr Judah) I would like to make a slightly different
point about something which I wanted to talk about earlier, but
I will now mention. One of the problems we are facing with the
Kosovo Albanians is a serious lack of leadership. There are leaders
but the sort of leadership they are giving I am not sure is even
leadership, which is part of the problem which is connected to
Presevo. They do not want to denounce what is happening in Presevo
but I suspect it is in great part driven by local interest in
that area, maybe hardliners in Presevo who do not want to miss
out in Kosovo, but the fact is that for Kosovo Albanians as a
whole it is absolutely disastrous because if you accept the premise
that sooner or later Kosovo is going to become independent, if
the Albanians have raised the question of frontiers the Serbs
will say, "Fine. Kosovo is lost. We will take Mitrovica.
Goodbye", and that will be a disaster for the Albanians.
As I say, this is the result of lack of leadership.
74. On the part of the Kosovo Albanians?
(Mr Judah) On the part of the Kosovo Albanians, absolutely.
75. It is anecdotal, I know, but what people
were saying to us outside the official line was that UNMIK and
KFOR were actually presiding over institutionalised racketeering
and extortion and protectionist rackets that are going on below
the surface willy-nilly with impunity almost. Is that an accurate
description or not?
(Mr Glenny) To an extent. You have to remember that
most of the Balkans at the moment, certainly in the former Communist
areas, are sources of tremendous criminality which has a very
serious impact on the
76. Lots of arms?
(Mr Glenny)EU. It is not just Kosovo but in
Kosovo and Bosnia we have security forces, large numbers of them.
At some point the issue of criminality has to be addressed in
a more systematic way, both through institution building but also
through policing. It seems to me that the political role of KFORI
am not blaming the KFOR commanders hereis problematic in
that issue, in the question of Greshamont(?). It is absolutely
outrageous that we have got 40,000 troops in Kosovo and something
over 500 insurgents operating in Presevo and nothing substantial
is being done to stop the arming and operation of these people.
Sometimes I think that we have got to keep the KFOR troops there,
we have got to keep the troops in Bosnia, there is absolutely
no question and it is worth it, for ten, 20 years; I agree entirely
with Jonathan on this. I sometimes think that we could be using
them to much greater effect than we are at the moment.
Sir John Maples
77. About a year ago there seemed to some that
in northern Kosovo, north of Mitrovica, along the north-eastern
Kosovo border, there was almost a Serb zone being created. Is
that still true?
(Mr Glenny) It is a Serb centre.
(Dr von Hippel) It always was a Serb centre but more
have gone there.
78. More Serbs have gone there as refugees.
Does that mean more Albanians have left?
(Mr Glenny) There are very few Albanians left.
(Mr Judah) Apart from the town itself.
79. When we talk about whatever the status of
Kosovo is, is this a factor that is going to have to be taken
into account? You said that the Serbs would not fight about Montenegro.
Might there be more trouble about that part of Kosovo? If we went
down the path towards independence for Kosovo, you said yourselves
that the Serbs might say, "We will take Mitrovica and you
can have the rest". I was just wondering if you could expand
(Mr Steele) I do not really agree with the idea of
these partitions and certainly not with population transfers unless
they are absolutely genuinely fair and balanced and voluntary.
It is no good if the people who are being re-settled are not actually
willing to be re-settled but it is only the politicians who decide
they have to be re-settled. I am not in favour of that kind of
forced re-settlement, nor am I in favour of partition. Nevertheless
we have to accept security enclaves as a temporary measure because
these people do not feel safe unless they are surrounded by KFOR
troops and given protection and so on. I think that should be
seen as a temporary measure, a security measure and not prejudicing
any kind of political arrangements in the future.
1 Note by witness: Serb jails. Back